How to Do Disney World with a 3 Yr Old – Part 2

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How to Do Disney World with a 3 Yr Old – Part 2

I recently shared some tips for the planning stage of your Walt Disney World vacation, and today I wanted to share some tips on making sure you get the most out of your day at the parks. When it comes to doing Disney World with a toddler/preschooler, it’s all about maximizing your time and hitting the parks EARLY (i.e. right when the parks open). Here are some key things we have learned to get the most out of our park days. I am going to be speaking primarily about Magic Kingdom in this post, as this park is typically the biggest hit with the toddler/preschooler crowd.

Set your alarm and plan to arrive early. This is key. We all know that preschoolers are early risers, so you will want to take advantage of this, and set your alarm to get up and going early. We always try to arrive 10-15 minutes before the parks open. If you are staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel, be sure to check the daily schedule for any Magic Hours at the specific park you plan to attend that day. {Side note: The Welcome Show at the Magic Kingdom begins promptly 10 minutes before the official “rope drop”, and is a must-see, so be sure to arrive before the show begins so you don’t miss this awesome moment!} Eat breakfast before you arrive to the park (or pack any breakfast items with you), so you don’t waste any time once you arrive at the park.

Head straight to your must-do attractions/rides. For us, it’s Fantasy Land at Magic Kingdom. We have always been able to walk right on at least 3-4 rides in Fantasy Land before having to wait in any lines. For this reason, we typically don’t book any of our FastPasses any earlier than 10/10:30am. You definitely want to make your FastPass+ selections count, so I recommend booking those during busier times of the day.

Take a break for an afternoon nap. This is crucial if you plan to keep your little one(s) up for any night parades and/or fireworks. Even during our most recent trip, when my son was 3.5, we still took a break in the afternoons and headed back to our hotel for nap time. He didn’t always fall asleep, but we did make sure that he at least got some quiet time. The one afternoon we were overambitious and tried to keep him going all day at the park, we ended up with a cranky, over-tired 3 year old who ended up melting down by 6pm, forcing us to miss all of our evening plans at the park.

Here is a sample itinerary from one of our days at Magic Kingdom. This was day 1 of 3, so keep in mind that we did more at MK the following day; however, even with a break for naps and dinner back at our hotel, we managed to squeeze in quite a bit during our first day!

Fantasy Land: Dumbo, Barnstormer, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, It’s a Small World

Cinderella’s Castle: “Dream Along with Mickey” show

Lunch/Souvenir Shopping

Fantasy Land: Winnie the Pooh, Meet Pooh & Tigger

Break for Nap/Dinner at Hotel

Fantasy Land: Teacups, Steam Train, Meet Donald & Goofy

Adventure Land: Aladdin’s Magic Carpets

Main Street: Electrical Parade at 9pm

We were lucky that Noah seemed to really enjoy every ride we took him on, but some clear favorites were: Dumbo, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Teacups, Aladdin, and the Steam Train. Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for refurbishment during our 1st trip; however, we did get a chance to ride it during our most recent trip, and that has become one of his favorite rides as well!

I’ll be doing another Disney series again soon, where I’ll be sharing some additional tips and tricks we have learned, along with a list of must-have items to bring with you to the parks!

About The Author
Sumer Schmitt
Sumer Schmitt
Sumer is a wedding planner turned stay-at-home mama to a toddler + a preschooler. She blogs about learning to balance everyday life with a whole lot of GRACE, plenty of GIGGLES, and of course, NAPTIME.
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